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3.         Ilegal traffic of migrant workers

1.         Are there private agencies or individuals working in your country engaged in hiring migrant workers for forwarding to other countries?  If so, are there any laws regulating such agencies or individuals?  Could you describe those laws?


2.         Do you know if there is any illegal or clandestine traffic of irregular migrant workers in your country, either by individuals, corporations or national or foreign organizations that conduct such activities?  If so, how did these persons or organizations work to develop the illegal or clandestine traffic of migrant workers?


3.         Has your country taken measures to prevent, eliminate or punish legally (civil or criminal) any persons, organizations or companies that organize, assist, participate or work in the illegal or clandestine traffic of migrant workers?  If so, could you describe what these measures or penalties consist of?  Could you reveal any court or administrative proceedings carried out for this purpose?



          1.       There are no data on the subject, nor any laws governing it.  What is known, according to complaints received, is that the operation of these agencies is always monitored. Until very recently, the practice of recruiting workers to send them to other countries was not common in Brazil. However, with the increased flow of Brazilians to Japan, several agencies sprang up to establish contact between migrant workers and the Japanese agency responsible for placing them in that country’s labor market. 

          2.       There have been numerous complaints in Brazil in the media, including television, concerning exploitation of immigrant workers (illegal aliens), generally by their own bosses. They are often threatened with being turned over to the Federal Police to be deported. This is the case, for example, of the Chinese and Bolivian workers in clothing factories in Sao Paulo.  However, the amnesty was approved by the government in order to permit these people to legalize their immigration status and escape this type of exploitation.  

          3.       The Law Governing Foreigners, in Article 125, Section VII, provides that it is against the law to hire or use the services of an illegal alien or one who is precluded from engaging in gainful employment. The penalty is a fine, and if the violator is an alien, expulsion.  The same article, in section XII, provides that it is a crime to smuggle in an alien or hide one. The penalty is prison for one to three years, and if the violator is an alien, expulsion.  


            1.       Yes.  Recruitment agencies exist which are sometimes recruiting staff for position outside Canada.  

If so, are there any laws regulating such agencies or individuals? Could you describe those laws?  

          All federal and provincial labour laws as well as other applicable Canadian and provincial Human Rights Acts will apply to these agencies and individuals.  

          2.       Migrant smuggling rings (mostly involving movement of migrants into the United States) are uncovered from time to time.  Release of information concerning the working methods of such criminal organizations could prejudice law enforcement activity.

          3.       Recognizing the need to deter alien smuggling or complicity in alien smuggling activity Canada has made such activities offenses punishable by imprisonment and/or fines (sections 94.1, 94.2, and 94.4 of the Immigration Act).   

          Sections 94.1, 94.2, and 94.4  are set out below:  

94.1 Organizing Entry into Canada - Every person who knowingly organizes, induces, aids or abets or attempts to organize, induce, aid or abet the coming into Canada of a person who is not in possession of a valid and subsisting visa, passport or travel document where one is required by this Act or the regulations is guilty of an offence and liable


(a)      on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both; or


(b)      on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.


94.2 Idem - Every person who knowingly organizes, induces, aids or abets or attempts to organize, induce aid or abet the coming into Canada of a group of ten or more persons who are not in possession of valid and subsisting visas, passports or travel documents where such visas, passports or travel documents are required by the Act of the regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.


94.4 Disembarking of Persons at Sea - Every person who, being the master or a member of the crew of a vehicle used for transportation by sea, disembarks or allows the disembarkation of, or attempts to allow the disembarkation of, a person or group of persons to come into Canada in contravention of this Act or the regulation is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction or indictment to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.  

          It should be noted that although it is common to speak of aiding and abetting, the two concepts are not the same and either activity constitutes a sufficient basis for liability.  Abetting is defined as instigating, promoting or procuring a crime to be committed, while aiding means assisting or helping without the necessarily encouraging or instigating the act.  

          The Immigration Act also provides for the seizure of a vehicle used in connection with the commission of an offence under sections 94.1, 94.2 or 94.4 (subsection 102.01(1) of the Immigration Act).   There is also provision for the seizure of anything that will afford evidence  of an offence committed under sections 94.1, 94.2 or 94.4 (subsection 102.01(1) of the Immigration Act).   

          Subsections 102.01 (1) and (2) are set out below:  

102.01(1) Seizure of Vehicle - An immigration officer or a peace officer may, where the officer believes on reasonable grounds that a vehicle was used in any manner in connection with the commission of an offence under section 94.1, 94.2 or  94.4, seize the vehicle as forfeit.


102.01(2) Seizure of Evidence - An immigration officer or a peace officer may, where the officer believed on reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed under section 94.1, 94.2 or 94.4, seize any thing that the office believes on reasonable grounds will afford evidence in respect of the contravention.


In terms of more general provisions, paragraph 94(1) (m) of the Immigration Act provides that every person is guilty of an offence who knowingly induces, aids or abets or attempts to induce, aid or abet any person to contravene any provision of the Act or regulations.  Every person who is guilty of an offence under subsection 94(1) is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not exceeding two years or to both, or on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both (Subsection 94(2) of the Immigration Act).  

          It should be noted that given these provisions in the Immigration Act, the Criminal Code of Canada does not contain any provisions dealing with trafficking or smuggling of aliens. Canada is currently an active participant in negotiations for an Optional Protocol on Migrant Smuggling, supplementary to the Draft UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.  


            1.       According with the archives of the Administrative Departament of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) -DAS- the existence of these kinds of agencies is unknown.  The same was said by the Labour Ministery.  

          2.       According to the DAS there are no such studies.  

          3.       It was not answered.  


1.       We are unable to furnish you with response to this question.  

          2.       No.  

3.       No.  


1.       There have been cases in which these kind of agencies act illegally.  

     Regarding the legislation, in the Migrant Law, article 37, there are crimes, felonies and penalties; although it is considered to be soft and the justice administration system has made its application difficult.  

1.       Yes, there is illegal traffic.  

          They act recruiting poor people, who are aware that the situation is illegal but accept to be transported especially to the United States, in an illegal and subhuman way, paying great sums of money knowing that they can or cannot get to their destiny, or even die in the way, without caring, they get the required money getting in debt, selling what they have, to give to the migrant dealers, apparently they leave the country in a legal way, with all their papers in order, to go to the Centro American countries from where they go to the United States, their destiny, going through many irregularities and difficulties, like getting false visas.  

          The illegal migrant dealers are clandestine centers, well organized with contacts and properties in the transit countries.  

          3.       There are general laws for the moment, not regulated and its consideration is based on the seriousness or on the particular situation in which it has been violated.  


1.                  No.  

2.                  Not kown.  

3.                  No.  


1.       Guatemalan legislation prohibits the exercise of private placement agencies, as stipulated in article 5 of the Government Agreement from December 23, 1957, relating to the creation of the Department of National Employment Service and the International Labor Convention, number 96 on "Agencias de Retribuidas de Colocación," ratified by Guatemala.  Nevertheless, article 34 of the Labor Code regulates the role of a recruiting or business agent, cited in response number 15 to the present questionnaire.  

          2.       We have a study titled "Trafficking of Migrants, Case Study: Guatemala," prepared by the General Directorate of Migration of Guatemala [Dirección General de Migración de Guatemala] and the International Migrant Organization, with the financial support of the Government of Canada, carried out in August 1998.  The report established that a clear and unanimous definition with respect to the trafficking of migrants does not exist; in this particular instance, this phenomena was analyzed under the perspective and definitions used by the IMO, which involve four characteristics:  

          a.       a trafficker or one who facilitates crossing the border.  

          b.       the payment to a trafficker by the migrant or someone in their name. 

          c.       this activity is illegal, or consists of various illegal acts in order to be fulfilled.  

          d.       there exists the migrant's act of voluntarily resorting to the trafficker.  

Under the previous context, Guatemala consists of a country of transit, destination, discharge and return of trafficked migrants.  The problem is even more complicated in the case of Central American migrants who can come to Guatemala and remain there for a certain period of time in total conformity with migrant laws in force among Central American countries, but they subsequently become undocumented migrants in an irregular situation.  A large part of them enter through contact with international networks or individual traffickers in order to reach their final destination.  

Throughout the territory of Guatemala, a diversity of regional migrants and those from outside the region are trafficked, guided by organized traffickers, for the purpose of entering the United States, Canada and a lesser number to Mexico.  A large quantity of migrants that opt for illegal visas are involved with organizations or individual traffickers who offer them entry to their countries of destination in an irregular/undocumented manner for a fee.  Additionally, the trafficking problem is tied to other crimes, such as drug trafficking and prostitution, which can seriously compromise the rights and dignity of the trafficked migrants, to the extent of risking their own lives.  

3.       The same factors that complicate attempts to detain migrants arise regarding the detention of the traffickers.  As part of the policy enforced by the State of Guatemala through the General Directorate of Migration [Dirección General de Migración], there is coordination from the National Civil Police, with whom they share information which permits the neutralization of migrant trafficking activities.  The level of specialization reached by the organizations and individuals that participate in this form of trafficking, and the insufficient resources on the part of the government authorities, especially with respect to the data base which provides timely information, together with the fact that the migrants will not identify the traffickers, makes it almost impossible to detain them and identify their characteristics.  

Another important aspect worth mentioning is that within the legal framework of the State of Guatemala, the Code on Criminal Procedure as well as the Law of Migration and Foreigners [Ley de Migración y Extranjería], the trafficking of migrants is not typified as a crime.  Nevertheless, a new law of migration is under study by the Congress of the Republic, a law which was structured in order to offer substantial juridical support to combat the trafficking of undocumented persons.  The lack of such legislation prevents the sanction or detention of those persons identified as traffickers of migrants.  Additionally, in the case of trafficking foreigners, expulsion is exercised only when it is proven that the person in the particular case did not comply with the existing norms within the Law of Migration and Foreigners [Ley de Migración y Extranjería].   

The Law of Migration and Foreigners [Ley de Migración y Extranjería] establishes two manners for exercising the control of entry of migrants: turning them away at the border and expulsion.  Additionally, the use of false documents and entry through facilitators' posts are sanctioned through the cancellation of their status as migrants, payment of a fine and the expulsion to their national territory.  

In general, noncompliance with whichever norm established in the Law of Migration and Foreigners [Ley de Migración y Extranjería] will be sanctioned against the foreigner through the cancellation of their status, payment of a fine and expulsion.  In the case of a national, pecuniary punishments are imposed, and, in the case of an agent or official, the punishment is a verbal or written admonition, suspension of their post and destitution.  Companies and businesses which transport migrants by airplanes, boats or across rivers, which carry migrants who do not have the current migrant documentation in force, who facilitate their crossing should pay fines from 500 to 1000 quetzales (approximately US$85 to $170) without prejudice to the non admittance of the foreigner and the business' obligation to return the foreigner to their place of origin.  The resolutions of the Directorate of Migrations may be challenged by the remedies provided in the law for Contetious Administrative Proceedings (Ley de lo Contencioso Administrativo( these remedies are (Recurso de Revocatoria, Recurso de Reposición, y Recurso de Aclaración y Ampliación.  

In Guatemala, migrant authorities are faced with the serious problem of having the law complied with, which is tied to the lack of resources of all types (technological, human, capacity, etc.), which includes the inability to make use of the necessary number of functionaries for the purpose of providing adequate control and supervision of migration investigations.  


          1.       There are no private or governmental agencies.  With respect to individuals, there are the so-called “coyotes” who guide them to the United States, and many of them make agreements to take them to centers of work in parts of the United States.  

2.       There are networks of traffickers of persons, commonly called “coyotes,” which, for considerable sums of money, take them to a destination (most commonly the United States).  

          3.       Yes.  In 1994, the State of Honduras was one of the first countries in the Central American region to criminalize the trafficking of persons, having reformed Article 195 of the Criminal Code by means of Legislative Decree Nº 120-94, which has been applied as a corrective measure against various foreigners and nationals engaged in this illicit work.  


1.       In Mexico there exist some private or particular agencies dedicated to the recruitment of migrant workers.  Nevertheless, the Secretariat of Labor and Social Security [Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social], through the General Director of Employment, is the agency of the Federal Government which regularly conducts such recruitment, the grounds for which are found within the Federal Labor Law.  

Article 135 of the Regulation of the General Population Law [Reglamento de la Ley General de Población] establishes that "collective contracting agencies for the migration of Mexican workers can only be established in a country previously authorized by the Secretariat, without prejudice to the compliance with that established through other applicable legal ordinances."

2.       On some occasions, Mexican authorities have detected prosecutors as well as groups and organizations that are dedicated to the illegal trafficking of migrant workers, especially at the southern border of Mexico.  These people or groups generally operate through clandestine offices that advertise through various means of communication, such as the local daily newspapers, and through their own undocumented migrant workers.  Unfortunately, when those persons find out that the authorities have detected them, they quickly disappear.  

From Mexico to the United State, particular individuals who traffic migrants are known as "polleros" or "coyotes," and they are the ones from which the migrants have to solicit services in exchange for payment in order successfully cross the border into the United States as a result of the actual policies of North American immigration that have caused migrants to attempt to cross the border through risky places.  

Based on the testimonies received by the National Commission for Human Rights, evidence has been collected concerning the manner in which they operate:  

-        The migrants can be contacted by the "polleros" from their point of origin or bordering States.  

-        They are able to get the migrants across the border at locations close to urban areas or far from them.  

-        The "polleros" are near the point of being drugged when they cross the border, they make the migrants cross at different stages.  Some migrants will be taken to a certain point where others pick them up.  They agree to a price which must be paid in advance and subsequently the traffickers rob the migrants, stealing everything they brought with them to take across the border.  

-        When they cross the river, the desert or the mountains, and as they generally travel in groups, individuals who physically do not have the strength to cross are abandoned on the road by the traffickers.  This places the physical integrity and lives of the migrants at risk.  

-        In other cases, they offer them false papers in exchange for a certain price; in these types of arrangments they are sometimes accompanied and in other cases they let them cross alone.  

For example, some organizations discovered, through different means of communication, the illegal trafficking and exploitation of deaf persons during July 1997. These deaf individuals were tricked when they were offered a trip to the United States and were later forced to sell trinkets in the streets of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other cities within the country in exchange for miserable wages and terrible living conditions.  

The trafficker instructs the undocumented persons not to bring charges against them if they should be detained.  This makes it even more difficult to provide facts against them.  

Undocumented persons, when they are detained for the first time, do not make accusations against the "pollero," be it for reasons of being afraid of losing their contact which helps them with their subsequent attempts to gain entry or for fear of being assaulted or attacked by them when they try to return to Mexico.  Additionally, when they are detained in the process of illegally crossing, the proof gathered against the trafficker is usually weak and consequently the fine or sanction that could be applied against them for violating that established in article 138 of the General Population Law [Ley General de Población] is significantly diminished.   

3.       The Government of Mexico has worked to enrich its migrant policies with concrete actions which express their humanitarian character.  In that sense, reforms and additions were made to the General Population Law [Ley General de Población], the principle legal instrument in the area of migration (under the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico), which grant the highest level of protection to the human rights of migrants, gives the highest juridical security within the processing of migration proceedings, favor family integration, and strictly combat the crimes tied to the trafficking of human beings.  

Within the framework of these reforms are included one concerning the sanctioning of the acts related to the trafficking of undocumented persons.  The crime of trafficking of persons was originally sanctioned with a sentence of 2 to 10 years in prison; in reality, the penalty for this crime is 6 to 12 years of prison without parole since it is considered a serious crime.  Additionally, the reform contemplates a serious punishment (9 to 18 years of prison) for those who participate in the commission of the crime and are public servants, and when they put the life and health of the migrants at risk or they involve minors.  Furthermore, the crime of trafficking of persons was included in the Federal Law against Organized Crime [Ley Federal contra la Delincuencia Organizada].  

On the other hand, Mexico has promoted the Regional Conference on Migration [Conferencia Regional sobre Migración], also known as Grupo Puebla, which brings together the vice ministers of the governments of Canada, the United States, Central America and Mexico.  To date, three regional conferences have taken place; the First Regional Conference on Migration took place March 1996, in Puebla, Mexico; the Second took place March 1997, in Panama; and the Third recently took place February 1998, in Ottawa, Canada.  In relation to the topic of this Report, within the Plan of Action suggested in the Second Conference, one of the principle objectives raised was to carry out activities for the purpose of preventing and combating the trafficking of migrants.  As a result, the Seminar on the Trafficking of Migrants was held in Managua, Nicaragua, in January 1998.  During this seminar, agreements originated such as that of including the crime of trafficking of migrants within the criminal legislation of all the countries of the region (not applicable to Mexico because this crime is already typified); institutionalizing the regional mechanism of the regular exchange of information concerning activities linked to the crime of trafficking persons, and promoting international cooperation through technical and financial assistance among the countries of the region.  

            Saint Lucia  

          1.       Not applicable.  

          2.       Not applicable.  

          3.       Arrest and deport offender back to country.  

            Trinidad and Tobago  

          1.       There are private agencies and individuals in this country engaged in hiring migrant workers for forwarding to other countries.  There are laws regulating such agencies and individuals.  

          2.       There is no illegal nor clandestine traffic of irregular migrant workers in this country.  

          3.       Not applicable.  

            United States  

1.       Yes, there are private agencies and individuals involved in hiring migrant workers in the United States for work in other countries. Aforementioned immigration and labor laws govern situations within the United States. As stated previously, the United States does not monitor or regulate out‑migration.  

          2.       Owing to the nature and availability of agricultural work in the United States, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has uncovered numerous schemes by unscrupulous employers to use illegal, or irregular, migrant workers to their benefit. Moreover, undocumented workers are attracted to agricultural work because of relatively low skill requirements and remote rural locations.  

          Nearly every day, U.S. Immigration investigators uncover organized illegal migrant trafficking schemes in all parts of the United States. Individuals and organizations carry out organized migrant trafficking. Recruitment of illegal migrant participants is often done by other illegal migrants within their U.S. or foreign communities. Some organized migrant smuggling units even advertise their services in foreign countries.  

          3.       The United States is always actively involved in preventing illegal migration of all types.  Extensive use is made of the wide variety of legal tools available to combat illegal migrant trafficking. Some specific criminal charges that invoke significant financial and legal penalties are: Bringing/Harboring certain aliens for financial gain (8 USC 1324), and Aiding/Assisting certain aliens for financial gain (8 USC 1320. In addition, often some general criminal violations are charged to increase the possible penalties. These include Aiding and abetting (18 USC 2), Accessory after the fact (18 USC 3), Concealment (18 USC I, Conspiracy (18 USC 371), and a variety of other criminal violations depending on the situation. The United States actively pursues alien smugglers and employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, and both are subject to a variety of criminal or civil penalties under U.S. law. Any person convicted of alien smuggling can be fined, imprisoned from five to 20 years, or, when the smuggling results in death, be sentenced to capital punishment or a life sentence. In December 1998, the United States broke up the largest alien smuggling operation in U.S. history, arresting and indicting more than 20 people. Their prosecution continues.  


          1.       There are no private agencies or individuals engages in the recruitment of migrant workers workers to be sent to other states.  

Regarding private agencies that locate people, there is no internal law that regulates it, except for the Organic Labor Law. Nonetheless, the “Ley Aprobatoria del Instrumento Andino de Migracion Laboral” establishes penalties for the recruiters and intermediaries of illegal immigrant workers and for Venezuelan employers.  

1.                  The National Government has no knowledge of networks dedicated to the illegal or clandestine trafficking of migrant workers in an irregular way. Although it is true that these kind of situations have existed in the past, these kind of irregularities did not occur on a large scale and today the irregular workers enter the country by their own means.  

          2.       The Venezuelan State, through the “Instrumento Andino de Migracion Laboral (Decision 116)” has committed itself to establish sanctions, in order to prevent, eliminate and/or legally punish those people and organizations that operate in the illegal or clandestine trafficking of migrant workers; nonetheless, this committment has not yet been fulfilled because the corresponding penalties to these organizations have not been incorporated in the national legal system.  

Nevertheless, there are penalties established in laws that are being studied, namely, the “Ley Organica de Migracion y Regulacion de Extranjeros”, article 45, and the “Ley Organica contra la Delicuencia Organizada” that in article 3(8,9 and 10) establishes: “The following offenses are considered as permaining to organized crimes: illicit trafficking of foreigners and the trafficking of person”.  “Whoever illegally trafficks with foreigners who want to be admitted in Venezuela, violating rules or falsifying the admission documents established in the “Ley de Extranjeros y su Reglamento” or in the regulations that are issued by the Executive power, or obtain their entrance through promise of or payment or of any other profit for the public officer in charge, will be punished by a sentence between 4 to 6 years of prison”.  

Currently, we only have the Criminal Code and the “Ley Organica de Salvaguarda del Patrimonio Publico.”    


            4.         Violence, abuses against migrant workers  

1.         Have there been any cases in your country in the last ten years where immigrant workers or their family members have been the targets of violence, abuse or mistreatment, either by employers or other persons, groups or organizations?  What are the inspection and penalty mechanisms to prevent and condemn such violence and abuse?  How many court or administrative proceedings have been started for this reason?  Could you discuss any?


2.         Have there been any cases in your country in the last ten years of abuse of authority, violence, torture or death of immigrant workers and their family members as a consequence of the activities of the police or migration officials?  Have any court or administrative proceedings been started or completed in this area, and what have the results been?


3.         Do you have any background information on cases in which migrant workers from your country or members of their families have been the targets of violence, abuse, mistreatment, torture or death either by employers, groups or organizations, immigration police or other state employees in the countries of employment or transit?  Could you give any cases?



1.       Answered in previous questions and in the next one. Even though there is no quantitative data it can be affirmed that nearly 50.000 foreigners will benefit by the recent amnesty decree, which process is still pending.  

2.       There is no information concerning this issue. Nevertheless, there have been complaints, although not very frequent, of exploitation from police officers who asked for money for not promoting deportation of clandestine agents.  

3.       There is no information on this issue.

a.       Stay in the national territory after the authorized deadline stated by the federal police.  

b.       Practice against the Foreigners Law.  

c.       Commission of crimes, being the last a cause of expulsion.  


            1.         Yes. Please refer to question  14, 17  and 21 for details on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Canadian Labour Code.  Under the Criminal Code of Canada, criminal acts will be prosecuted regardless of the status of the victim. No statistics are kept concerning the immigration status of victims of crime.  

          2.       With regard to temporary workers such cases are not known.  

          3.       Not known.  


1.       The “Dirección Nacional de Atención y Trámite de quejas de la defensoría del pueblo” does not have in its files any register of cases or complaints filed by foreign illegal workers about violence, abuse or mistreatment, or that they received a less favorable treatment than national workers.  

2.       According to “DAS” and the “Defensoría del Pueblo”, there have been no cases.  

3.       Yes, there are records of violence, abuse, mistreatment, torture and/or death of Colombian workers. Nevertheless it is not easy to mention particular cases in this kind of interrogation.  


1.       No.  

2.       We are unable to furnish you with responses to this questions.  

3.       No.  


1.       There have not been any similar cases as described in the question.  

2.       There is not.  

3.       Yes there have been abuse, violence and mistreatment cases, in transit countries, in which Ecuadorian immigrants have been detained my the Migratory Police and incomunicated for long periods and then deported.  


          1.       No (ii) nothing (iii) the Judicial System (iv) Nothing  

          2.       No (ii) Nothing (iii) Not applicable.  

          3.       Nothing.  


1.       The competent authorities do not poses a record for these kind of cases. Nevertheless, when one of these situations arises, it is the Inspection of Labor [Inspección de Trabajo], subject to the Ministry of Labor and Social Services, which is competent to verify these types of facts, starting with making a complaint against the employer before the respective labor and social service judges in order to iniciate the corresponding judicial punishment.  

2.                  Statistical records concerning these issues are not available.  

3.       The consulting bodies (Public Ministry, Ombudsman for Human Rights and Judicial branch) indicated that they do not have a record concerning a situation of this type.  The Ministry of Labor and Social Security also does not poses official information concerning some of the extremes expressed in this question.  


1.       As in every part of the world, many times immigrant’s rights are violated by some persons, enterprises or authorities; in Honduras the “Direccion General de poblacion y Politica Migratoria” has no case in file, but information about this matter can be requested to the “Comisionado Nacional para los Derechos Humanos” in Honduras or to the “Fiscalia de Proteccion de los Derechos Humanos “ dependant of the “Ministerio Publico.”  

2.       No.  

3.       The “Direccion General de Poblacion y Policia Migratoria” has not registered specific cases, but the fourth statistic analysis about deported hondurians from the United States, shows that 12.26% of the people deported between january, 1997 and february 28, 1998 complained about mistreatment, abuse and violence in the capture and transportation to the prisons.  

          More information regarding violation of the immigrants rights, can be requested to the “Casa del Migrante” in Tijuana, Mexico, where there are thousands of registered and documented cases under the name of “Testimonios de violacion a los Derechos Humanos de los Migrantes.”  


1.       The acts of abuses, violations or maltreatment committed against any person constitute illicit acts which are typified as crimes in the existing Penal Code and within each of the Federal Entities, according to which if an immigrant worker or their family members receive this form of treatment from their employer, group or any other person, they have the ability to turn to the Prosecutor General of the State, in which the illicit act was committed, in order to demand the punishment of the accused.  They can also demand the corresponding reparations for damages, which originated in the commission of the crime, owed to them.

The National Commission of Human Rights worked on the Report on the Violation of Human Rights of Immigrants, Frontera Sur, published in 1996 and reprinted in 1997, in which the situation concerning immigrants that enter through the southern border of Mexico was analyzed.  The Report also directed suggestions to a number of authorities to make the protection of the fundamental rights of immigrants within their jurisdiction more efficient, without giving importance to their status as migrants.  To this date, many of the suggestions have been attended to.  

2.       Of the total complaints received by the National Commission of Human Rights, there have been some in which complainants have been migrants --not necessarily a migrant worker--, and the following types of facts, presumably violations of human rights, have been generated:  

-          irregular condition of security,  
request for penitentiary transfer,  
request for early release,  
arbitrary arrest,  
false accusations,  
abuse by authorities,  
unjust charge of contributions and taxes,  
violations of due process of law,  
violation of the rights of the imprisoned,  
delay in the prosecution of cases,  
nonconformity with administrative resolutions,  
procedural delays,  
crime of violation,  
undue holding of personal property  
denial of regulating the status of migrant,  
left in a state of incommunicado,  
request for medical attention,  
denial of justice,  
denial of right to petition,  
request for amnesty,  
nonconformity with sentences, findings or resolutions,  
violations of the right to freedom of expression, and  
medical negligence.

Because of the frequency with which these violations are brought to our attention, it is impossible to precisely say how many there are. One must also take into consideration the vulnerability of these migrant workers, and the fact that the violations they are the victims of are not always reported or, if they are reported, there are times when the proceedings are interrupted, be they administrative, civil or criminal.  Such proceedings are interrupted due to the fact that the migrants are in a particular place for only a temporary period of time, which makes it difficult to locate them once they have moved.  

One of the positive aspects for when there has been a violation of human rights against migrant workers is the ability to make a complaint.  The cases reported by government offices do not always contain the total number of such cases; nevertheless, it permits the state to appreciate and determine the issues that it can begin to handle and fight against.  Furthermore, in accordance with the competence of the National Commission of Human Rights, mechanisms for the promotion, diffusion, protection and proposals from the Mexican Government can be identified and established with respect to giving the greatest amount of attention to this problem.   

From January to December, 1997, 56 complaints were filed before the National Commission in which the persons injured were nationals of this country or from Central and South American countries.  These victims also alleged human rights violations committed by Mexican authorities, causing injury to Central and South American citizens who entered national territory undocumented or, even though they applied for it, their status as migrants was not regularized; of these, 25 resulted in facts that this National Organization was unable to recognize in accordance with the authority established in their regulations.  

In the case of a violation of human rights, the person who makes the complaint at no moment goes unprotected due to the fact that the complaint can be brought by anyone, not necessarily the victim, through whichever means, even by phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Additionally, in emergency situations, the cases receive immediate attention from the employees of the National Commission.  

When a complaint is presented concerning a human rights violation against an individual or when it is opened by the National Commission, at its own initiative, an investigation of the facts that motivated the case is carried out and a resolution with respect to the same is produced, which in accordance with the law could result in a Recommendation, a document of "No Responsibility," or in a complaint by means of settlement or solution procedures during the necessary proceedings, in addition to the procedures established in article 123 of the Regulations of the National Commission.  

          3.       There is knowledge of the abuses and maltreatment committed against Mexican workers in the United States of America, as well as in particular cases within the apple industry in the State of Washington, and in the avocado industry in the State of Maine, both within the United States.  

            Saint Lucia  

          1.       Not applicable.  

          2.       Not applicable.

          3.       Not applicable.

            Trinidad and Tobago  

            1.       There have been no cases in this country in the last ten years where immigrant workers or their family members had been targets of violence, abuse or mistreatment, neither by employers nor other persons, groups or organizations.  

          2.       There have been no cases in this country in the last ten years of abuse of authority, violence, torture or death of immigrant workers nor their family members as a consequence of the activities of the police or immigrant officials.  

          3.       Not known.  

            United States  

         1.       Yes, unfortunately, cases involving serious abuse of migrant workers do occur. These cases, as noted above (#17), may take many forms. Organized hate groups that may be involved in such acts include Neo‑Nazi Skinheads, the Aryan Nation, the Ku Klux Klan, various militias, the National Alliance, and the White Aryan Resistance. Employers and smuggling operations may also be involved in such cases. When investigations uncover such abuse, federal agencies vigorously pursue efforts to bring the offending party to justice and to make the victim(s) whole. INS involvement is mostly limited to undocumented illegal workers. Unscrupulous employers have engaged undocumented workers for the period of time necessary to harvest their crop. They then contact the INS to report that there are people working without authorization to avoid paying migrant salaries.  

          Federal statutes criminalize various forms of worker exploitation: Involuntary Servitude and other federal criminal civil rights violations; Collection of Extension of Credit by Extortionate Means; Alien Smuggling or Harboring; Fair Labor Standards Act violations; and Seasonal Worker Protection Act violations. Trial lawyers from the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division and the various United States Attorneys' Offices routinely prosecute these matters. While we do not have specific figures on the number of court or administrative proceedings that have been initiated because of these sorts of abuses, the following examples indicate the kinds of abuses that have been uncovered and pursued:  

-        In 1995, federal authorities investigated and prosecuted a matter involving the smuggling of over 70 Thai women and men into the United States who were enslaved In El Monte, California for up to seven years. These individuals were held in a guarded compound and forced to work. The sweatshop owners were prosecuted for violations of Involuntary Servitude, Conspiracy, and Immigration laws.  

-        In 1997, three men serving as crew leaders at a labor camp in South Carolina pled guilty to recruiting and forcing migrant laborers to work against their will. The leaders of this enterprise pled guilty to a number of Civil Rights, Extortion, Immigration and Labor charges, and were sentenced to 15 years incarceration.  

-        In May of 1997, after an extensive investigation conducted jointly with the DOJ/1NS, Miguel Angel Floresplead guilty in South Carolina to 1 count of conspiracy, 7 counts of smuggling undocumented aliens, 6 counts of indentured servitude, 6 counts of extortion, and 2 counts of violating labor statutes. Mr. Flores received a significant prison sentence for his criminal misconduct. Subsequently, several of his co‑conspirators were also found guilty of criminal offenses and sentenced to prison.  In another case, again following a joint DOL‑DOJ/INS investigation, 3 men were convicted on charges of conspiracy, smuggling and harboring undocumented workers, and violating labor law protections. The 3 men, Ricardo Correa, Ramiro Garcia‑Hernandez, and Silvano Garcia‑Hernandez, recruited the workers at the Mexican border, and drove the workers to the State of Idaho to work for them.  

-        In 1998, 18 defendants pled guilty to slavery conspiracy charges based on a scheme in which they held dozens of hearing impaired Mexican nationals in slavery, forcing them to peddle trinkets on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The ringleader of this conspiracy was sentenced to serve 14 years incarceration and, along with her co‑defendants, was ordered to pay over $2.5 million in restitution.  

          2.       Other similar examples exist of federal criminal civil rights and labor standards investigations uncovering serious abuses and leading to criminal prosecutions and convictions.

              The U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted matters involving the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers against migrant worker, and other undocumented, victims. For example, in 1998, five former United States Marine Corps Military Police officers pled guilty to civil rights conspiracy and conspiracy to commit false statements charges for their role in the beating of migrant farm workers after an extensive federal investigation. On August 1, 1994, the defendants, armed United States Marine Military Police SWAT Team members, attacked a migrant farm worker settlement in close proximity to Camp Pendleton, California. During the attack, an elderly Mexican worker was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and beaten unconscious. The wife of another worker was thrown to the ground when she attempted to assist her husband. The Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, and United States Attomey's Office in San Diego, prosecuted this and a related matter in which a co‑defendant, another former Marine M.P., was convicted after trial of his role in the beating. In addition, please see responses to questions #17 and #30.  

          On November 20, 1994 the United States ratified (thereby bringing into full force within the U.S.) the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  

3.       Please refer to response in #18 above (2 about xenophobia)  


1.       No.  The National Constitution of Venezuela (Chapter III, art. 60) states individual rights in equal conditions for national and foreigners, which should be protected by the competent authorities, in order to avoid and condemn violent acts and abuses against nationals and foreigners.  

2.       No.  There are no statistics or numbers that indicate authorities’ abuses, violence, torture and/or death of immigrant workers or their family members in Venezuela.  

3.       No.


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